Sept. 8, 2003
Bruins Kickoff Season in Malibu: UCLA will start the 2003 season in Malibu on Saturday with the Pepperdine Tournament. The Bruins will face-off with the host Waves at 11:00 a.m. before a meeting with Cal Baptist at a time yet to be determined. On Sunday, the current Bruins will take on former Bruin greats with the Alumni Game at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center.
UCLA Season Outlook: The Bruins return first-team All-American and U.S. National Team member Brett Ormsby, All-MPSF honoree center Ted Peck and former MPSF Player of the Week Michael March along with seven other letterwinners from the 2002 season. Junior drivers Peter Belden and Josh Hewko will return to the water for UCLA after successful seasons in 2002, while Joe Axelrad takes over for Brooks in the cage after training with the U.S. National Team in the summer of 2002.
Taking over for Brooks in the goal will be Axelrad, who has seen limited playing time for the Bruins in the last two years, but whose talent exceeds his experience. He has allowed only nine goals in 46 minutes of action, for a 5.48 goals allowed average.
Returning to the physically demanding center position will be the All-MPSF honoree Peck, who finished second on the team with 32 goals last season. The Irvine native was a mainstay in the pool for UCLA, starting every match of 2002. One of three returning starters, Peck will be looked on to guide a young Bruin team.
A group of young center defenders will take to the pool for the Bruins in 2003, with two sophomores and two freshmen taking over for the departed Flesher and Yeilding. The sophomore March started 21 of UCLA's 23 matches last season and is the most experienced of the core. He posted 17 goals in his freshman campaign, which ranked third on the squad. Fellow sophomore David Pietsch and redshirt freshman Brad Greiner will move into the center defender rotation. Pietsch appeared in one match and scored a goal for the Bruins last season. Greiner, who at 6-6 is one of the tallest members of the team, will wreck havoc on opponents with his enormous wing span.
The most experienced position for the Bruins this season is at driver, with Ormsby, Hewko and Belden all returning for 2003. Along with the set of experienced returners, a junior, a sophomore and two freshmen will provide depth at this position. Ormsby, who earned gold at the Pan American games this summer with the U.S. National Team, returns after leading the 2002 Bruins with 58 goals. The El Cajon native also led UCLA with 20 assists and 16 steals last season while picking up first-team All-America honors.
Juniors Belden and Hewko bring a combined 28 career goals to the pool for UCLA. Belden appeared in 19 matches for UCLA in 2003, while Hewko saw time in 20 contests.
Up Next For the Bruins: UCLA will continue with its non-conference tournament slate as it heads to Irvine for the So Cal Tournament on September 20-21.